Post Magazine

JULY 2011

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higher learning Going back to school T alk about life-changing decisions — recently I decided to go back to school and get my MBA. It seemed By TJ GALDA Senior CG Supervisor EA Sports Vancouver like a daunting task: working full-time as a CG supervisor at Electronic Arts while writ- ing essays, doing research and trying to have a life. Getting an MBA is no easy task,so why should you consider doing the same? In doing the program at Royal Roads Uni- versity (, I have had the benefit of being able to take my course work and directly apply it to my work at EA. Here are some insights that I believe are critical for the success of companies in the entertainment industry: This artist tackles an MBA focused on leadership and management skills. Successful companies need to under- stand market drivers.Take the example of cloud computing. If you define this as “paying for the use of server hardware but not ac- tual ownership of the hardware,” then it is clear that cloud computing is no fad. It will directly impact entertainment companies in at least two major ways. First, smaller companies no longer need large amounts of capital to buy equipment.A small company with a big idea can quickly be- come a major competitor to larger firms. Sec- ond, companies can take on large one-off jobs that would have previously been too ex- on accounting. I’m fortunate that the mater- ial on leadership and effective team manage- ment has had an immediate impact on how I create stronger teams. An example of this is involving the team in decision-making.An employee that is involved and understands the overall goals of a project or task will have less role ambiguity. By in- creasing their role autonomy, the ability for workers to effectively manage their work and family lives increases dramatically.This means that by engaging employees early in the plan- ning stages of a project, managers can create a team that will have better work life balance. This will positively impact job and career sat- isfaction as well as overall performance of their team. Simply put, creating a highly pro- ductive team will save the company money by taking less time to do things. STRESS RELIEF One added benefit of the increase in role autonomy is a significant reduction in em- ployee stress. Because we work in an indus- ment industry is notorious for rapid-fire changes and redoing the work several times. Lean production techniques made popular in the Japanese automotive industry seek to eliminate this wasted effort or “muda.” It teaches that empowering everyone is criti- cal to a company’s success. Every employee actively seeks out wasted effort and is ag- gressively rewarded when they make the process more efficient. When everyone works to help find solutions versus waiting to be told what to do, the company radically improves their production speed. Entertainment companies can easily save money and have happier workers with strong leadership. Entertainment companies that are known for fast and reliable turnaround times have a strong competitive advantage — being able to deliver top-quality product under budget. Understanding how to leverage em- ployees to create a streamlined, efficient pipeline can not only maximize employee productivity, but actually decrease attrition, overtime and redundancy.This can increase a New EA Sports titles that Galda has worked on include and . pensive since there would be in investment in equipment for just that one job. Both of these reasons show that barrier to entry is drop- ping rapidly and the field of competition is about to grow. Because of this increased mar- ket saturation, existing companies need to become more strategic and efficient in their planning and production processes.A good MBA program can help you do this. PLANNING Having strong strategic leadership and trained management saves money. By care- fully planning up front and involving employ- ees, managers can both increase their em- ployee engagement and decrease the amount of overtime required. The MBA program at Royal Roads has the benefit of a strong leadership focus versus one focused 44 Post • July 2011 try that strives for constant and almost in- stant innovation, employees are often faced with the constant need to evolve and change. Change can be a major stressor for employees, especially when large-scale change is implemented without clarity or a well-communicated plan.The ambiguity cre- ated from change is proven to release hor- mones that create stress, leading to worry and a loss of focus. Stressed employees are not productive ones. By removing as much ambiguity as possible, leaders can maximize the potential of their groups. Lean production methods can also help entertainment companies. The entertain- company’s ability to attract and maintain top talent as well as stimulate innovation. It takes a strong leader to to see big pic- ture problems and to manage all aspects of a production efficiently. Learning ways to do all of this has been the core of my MBA courses thus far. While I understand that some leaders have an innate ability to guide teams, I believe that even the best need guidance and need to continually im- prove their skills.An MBA program focused on leadership and management skills can be a great asset for any business in the en- tertainment field. Maybe it’s time to con- sider getting yours. Champion Fight Night SSX

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